10 things you didn’t know about Wellow

Wellow in Hampshire Illustration: Lucy Atkinson

Wellow in Hampshire Illustration: Lucy Atkinson - Credit: Archant

Originally a gift to King Alfred’s daughter, Wellow is now best known for the lady with the lamp


Just between the New Forest and Salisbury, Wellow is also very close to Canada Common - named following the settlement in the village by the well-travelled Mr Thomas Becket who'd lived in the country of Canada before.

The 'toune of Welewe' was left as a gift to his eldest daughter, Ethelgifu, by King Alfred. But it was the village's connection to Nurse Florence Nightingale, who lived at Embley Park house - that put Wellow on the map.


Built in 1840, The Rockingham Arms on Canada Road overlooks Canada Common. A scrummy menu features The Rockingham Dexter beef burger with bacon and cheddar in a brioche bun, or Lymington Crab linguine. The Red Rover in Salisbury Road has the perfect pub atmosphere, serving classic dishes and unusual gins, as well as local beers. Carlo's Ices and Tea Rooms in East Wellow offers cream teas, Sunday roasts and daily specials.


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From the Twinning Association (Couffe in Loire Atlantique) to the Care Group to the Flower Club, there's plenty to get stuck into in Wellow. Add to this the Scouts, Beavers and Cubs, plus the cricket club and tennis club and all ages and interests are catered for.


Every year, so the legend goes, a ghostly white coach and horses would trundle its way around the lanes near West Wellow. The spectre appeared on New Year's Eve passing through the eerily-named 'Sounding Arch', a road tunnel which was once part of the Embley Park estate. Built in 1818, the tunnel did have creepy acoustics, but it was demolished to allow the road to be widened. A seat made from its stonework marks where it used to be.


Most of the time it's a negotiable road. But woe betide anyone trying to cross the River Blackwater at Rixes Ford in Foxes Lane. According to villagers, in the past there has been many a time the local farmer has been asked to get his tractor out to rescue a motorist who misjudged the ford's depth and flow. Images exist of a flood which is 7ft deep there.


It was at Embley Park that Florence Nightingale received her divine calling to become a nurse, while sitting under a tree in the garden. Her home is now Hampshire Collegiate School but Florence returned to the parish following her death in 1910, to be buried at St Margaret's Church. Her striking white grave remains a place of pilgrimage for all those who honour the woman who pioneered the art of nursing.


Consecrated in 1215, the church in Hackley's Lane, is a repository of stories. It contains 13th century wall paintings and a replica of the Scutari Cross presented to Nightingale. A musket is affixed to a beam. Its owner accidentally shot a serving maid. The weapon was displayed as a warning to others. On the church door are tiny holes where the rat catcher would pin dead vermin until the churchwardens paid them.


Carlo's Ices and Tea Rooms in East Wellow is one of the main reasons people venture to this pretty area. They're still making ice-cream to the recipe created more than 100 years ago by Achille Donnarumma, the business's founder. Over the years they've given things a tweak by incorporating local, award-winning Hiltingbury Jersey cow milk. But the company says it's always maintained Carlo's original secret recipe.


James Brydges, Duke of Chandos, was Paymaster General from 1707 to 1712. He lost more than half-a-million pounds on the Cannons Estate in Middlesex and in the South Sea Bubble. He helped his cousin, George Rodney Brydges, buy the manors of East and West Wellow. George died of gangrene after his leg amputation went wrong, and the manors were given back to James. Sadly James' son, Henry, squandered the rest of the family fortune.


Wellow Methodist chapel was built in 1815 in Maury's Lane with a brick chapel built next door. The Primitive Methodist Chapel in Canada Common dates from 1876. Wellow Wood Methodist Chapel from 1967 was originally wooden. Wellow Christian Centre at Canada Corner opened as the Elim Church after World War II. And in 1883 the Gospel Hall in Canada Road was the Gospel Methodist Temperance Hall.